Erling Haaland: Just how brilliant has the Borussia Dortmund's star first year been?

By Sports Desk January 18, 2021

Much has changed in the past 12 months but one thing that has stayed the same is the mind-boggling brilliance of Erling Haaland.

It has been exactly 12 months since the Norway striker made his debut for Borussia Dortmund following a big-money move from Salzburg.

Haaland came off the bench against Augsburg on that occasion after 56 minutes and scored a hat-trick in a 5-3 win, offering a taste of things to come.

Here, we have crunched the Opta numbers to highlight just how brilliant Haaland has been.

Haaland competing with the best

If you're a football fan, the only way you could have not spotted Haaland's meteoric rise over the last year is if you live under the proverbial rock.

Indeed, using data across all competitions for the top-five European leagues since his Dortmund debut, only two players can better his tally of 35 goals. 

Prepare to be shocked here (Narrator: there is zero shock value involved), those players were Robert Lewandowski (49) and Cristiano Ronaldo (40).

Ciro Immobile, Romelu Lukaku (each 33) and Lionel Messi (29) all trail Haaland, and when we view the numbers through a different lens his past 12 months become even more impressive.

Both Lewandowski (42) and Ronaldo (40) started more games than Haaland's 29. When looking at goals scored per 90 minutes, the Dortmund's star has 1.18 compared to 1.15 for Lewandowski, and 0.99 for Ronaldo. Surprisingly, Luis Muriel 1.57 heads the way here.

What is even more startling is the fact Haaland had 102 shots (including blocks) during this period, way down on Messi (253), Ronaldo (235) and Lewandowski (180).

Indeed, his goals have come from only 58 shots on target. Messi (115), Lewandowski (90) and Ronaldo (85) again head these metrics.

When looking at shots on target per 90, Haaland (1.96) ranks below Muriel (3.14), Messi (2.53), Kylian Mbappe (2.15), Lewandowski and Ronaldo (each 2.11).

No one can better Haaland's shot-conversion rate of 34.31 (Lewandowski for comparison is fifth on 27.22), and while Lewandowski (40) and Ronaldo (29) beat the 28 'big chances' he has scored, both have a lower 'big-chance' conversion rate (55.56 and 52.73 to Haaland's 60.87).

And when it comes to goals/minutes ratio, Haaland's 76.26 is beaten only by Muriel's 55.33. Lewandowski (78.37) and Ronaldo (90.68) are next on the list.

Bundesliga defences taken to Haal-and back

May we all take a brief moment to show our thoughts for Bundesliga defences, who have been given a torrid time by Lewandowski over the past year.

Okay, that's long enough…

If we crunch similar numbers for goals across all competitions for just Bundesliga strikers, it's not exactly hard to see why Haaland has been such a big star in Germany's top flight.

While Lewandowski's 49 goals remain a high, Haaland's 35 is still comfortably better than Andre Silva (26) and Wout Weghorst (24).

The 1.18 goals per 90 minutes is a best among strikers playing in Germany. Lewandowski is of course close behind, but the next best are Lucas Alario (0.86), Andrej Kramaric (0.8) and Silva (0.76).

Lewandowski (180), Serge Gnabry (112) and Silva (110) have all taken more shots but only Lewandowski's 90 on target beats Haaland's 58. Weghorst (53), Gnabry (52) and Silva (51) are not too far behind.

Silva (22) and Weghorst (21) have each scored fewer of their 'big chances', while only three players have a higher 'big-chance' conversion among Bundesliga players.

In terms of goals/minute ratio – Haaland and Lewandowski are the only players below 100. Alario (105.22), Kramaric (112.25) and Silva (117.88) are way off the pace of the superstar duo.

The main takeaway from all of this is Haaland has been sensational over the past 12 months.

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